How to Make Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts (Tufahije)

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Step aside, cakes and cookies. We're making tufahije, the walnut-stuffed apple dessert you never knew you needed.

In our household, any dish that’s loaded with walnuts is going to be a hit. We sprinkle them over green salads and roasted vegetables, we eat them by the handful both raw and candied, and, of course, they make their way into nearly every dessert we eat.

One of those desserts is tufahije, a poached apple stuffed with walnuts. It’s the perfect walnut-based dessert because it’s sweet but not overly so, and the apples are poached to just the right texture—soft enough to scoop with a spoon, but not so soft that they’re falling apart. But the best part is that classic apple-and-walnut flavor combination. It’s reminiscent of apple pie, right down to the swirl of whipped cream on top.

What Is Tufahije?

Tufahije is a traditional Bosnian dessert. Bosnian cuisine is closely related to Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines, and the name “tufahije” comes from the Arabic and Turkish words for apple. The recipe is originally from the Ottoman invaders, who brought over desserts on their conquests, including many sugar syrup-soaked desserts like the ever-popular baklava. Like many Bosnian desserts, it’s made using lots of nuts, lots of sugar syrup (though is still somehow not overly sweet) and is traditionally served with strong Bosnian coffee.

To make tufahije, you peel and core apples, simmer them in simple syrup and stuff them with a ground walnut mixture. The apples are served chilled, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

How to Make Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 4 very firm apples
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 full lemon + the juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of whipped cream, homemade or store-bought
  • Maraschino or fresh cherries to garnish

Tools You’ll Need

The most important tool you’ll need for this dish is a basic vegetable peeler. The jury is out on which is easier for coring the apple: an apple corer or a grapefruit spoon. Just be careful that you don’t cut through the skin of the apple.

Directions

Step 1: Peel and core apples

Peel and core apples Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts (Tufahije)Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Prepare some lemon water for your apples to go in once they’re peeled so they don’t oxidize. Juice a lemon into a bowl of water and then throw the squeezed-out lemon into the water as well.

Slice off the very top quarter-inch of your apples. Carefully scoop out the core and seeds, leaving the bottoms intact.

Peel the apples and immediately put them in the lemon water.

Step 2: Cook the apples

Cook off apples Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts (Tufahije)Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Combine the water, sugar, juice of half of a lemon and vanilla in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven that will fit all the apples. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the apples and allow them to cook for eight to ten minutes

Make sure to turn the apples once in the middle so both sides get cooked and don’t let the liquid go beyond a simmer or the apples will fall apart!

Remove the apples from the heat and let them cool on a plate. Reserve the simple syrup.

Step 3: Make the filling

Make the filling Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts (Tufahije)Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Heat the butter until it’s fully melted. In a medium bowl, combine it with the ground walnuts and cinnamon and mix well.

Step 4: Fill apples and chill

Fill apples and chill Poached Apples Stuffed with Walnuts (Tufahije)Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Fill each apple with the walnut mixture so it’s almost overflowing. Pour a generous drizzle of the simple syrup over all of the apples. Let them cool in the fridge before you add the whipped cream (or else it will fall right off).

Once cooled, top each apple with a swirl of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!

Tips for Making the Best Tufahije

  • There’s some debate as to what type of apples to use. But there’s no debate that your apples should be very firm, because if they’re too soft, they won’t stand up well to the poaching.

  • Don’t let the sugar syrup boil while you’re poaching! You want the syrup to be at a gentle simmer, which also will help prevent the apples from starting to fall apart.

  • The apples will taste yummy warm, but if you try to top warm apples, with whipped cream, it will fall right off! Cooling the apples before adding the cream lets all the flavors come together, and will also help the whipped cream sit on top like a little hat.

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Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.